Sunday, 11 July 2010
Volodymyr Singalevych von Schilling
And his Austrian Archive (1911-1930)
Over the years, I have come across the name of Volodymyr Singalevych in correspondence between Ukrainian political organizations and the Apostolic See. Recently, I accidentally discovered his archives. However, when I searched for biographical information about him, I was surprised to discover that almost nothing is available. Like Jan Tokarzhevsky-Karashevych, Singalevych has virtually disappeared from history.
There are short entries on Singalevych in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine and the Екциклопедіа Українознавства. Even Vasyl Kuchabsky's history of the ZUNR (Західна Українська Національна Республіка), recently republished by CIUS in English, does not mention him, despite the fact that he was one of the inner core of Galician parliamentarians and founders of the ZUNR.
To understand the ZUNR one needs to understand something about the men who gave it birth. They generally came from Greek-Catholic priestly families, were lawyers and became political activists in the best Austrian Josephist tradition. Singalevych was literally a member of this club, though he did not embrace the usual Josephist disdain for the Church.
A Brief Biographical Sketch
Volodymyr Singalevych was Born 13 January 1875 in Miskakivtsi, Kosiv district (Ivano-Frankivsk) to a clerical gentry family descended from the German Schillings. In 1893 he graduated from the faculty of law of the University of Lviv and subsequently worked in civil courts in Kamianka-Strymylova (Kamianka-Buzko), Peremyshliany and Hlynjan.
Some years before the First World War he was created Ritter Singalewycz von Schilling (similar to a baronetcy). I have been unable to find the precise date of his ennoblement but it is likely that it took place around 1911, the year that Stefan Smal-Stotsky was also ennobled with the lesser, titleless distinction of edler. As Singalevych held the highest civil rank among his fellow Ukrainian parliamentarians, his signature always appeared first before those who, with the fall of the Monarchy, were to play a more prominent role in Ukrainian affairs. For example, men such as Yevhen Petrushevych and Kost Levytsky.
As a member of Ukrainian National Democratic Party, Singalevych served as a deputy in the Austrian lower house from 1911-1918 and in the the Galician Diet from 1913-1914. He became a leading member of the Ukrainian Supreme Council in September 1914 and was appointed by this council as commander of the War Council of the Sichovi Striltsi regiment in Vienna. In that same month, Galician and Bukovynan deputies had met in Vienna to discuss the situation of the refugees from the Russian-occupied zones. Singalevych served on a government-funded Ukrainian Assistance Committee which dealt with Ukrainian refugees and internees, such as those in the Tallerhoff camp. The committee also solicited funds from the Diaspora to support Ukrainian economic institutions at home.
Volodymyr Singalevych took part in the preparations for the 1 November 1918 uprising, organzied and implemented Ukrainian rule in Stryj and the neighboring districts and was a member of ZUNR and ZO UNR Radas from 1918-1919. During the Polish-Ukrainian War he was arrested and briefly interned following which he left Galicia and worked in Vienna in the Austrian Liquidation Commission. On 3 April 1919 he was appointed ZUNR diplomatic representative to Austria. Petrushevych named him acting finance and trade minister on 1 August 1920 and, two years later, he assumed the porfolio of acting internal minister. Following the 15 March 1923 decision of the Council of Ambassadors to definitively allocate Eastern Galicia to Poland, Singalevych helped dismantle the remainig apparatus of the ZUNR Government-in-Exile.
Among his peers, Singavelych could be singled out for his strong Catholic religious convictions. Evidence of this fact is found in the correspondence he carried on throughout the 1920's with Greek-Catholic notables such as Metropolitan Sheptytsky, Father Lazar Beresovzky, Father (later Bishop) Ivan Buchko, and Mitrat Vojnarovsky. Vojnarovsky was instrumental in helping Singalevych obtain political amnesty from the President of Poland in 1930, allowing him to return to his homeland. From 1930 to 1939 Singalevych served as director of the Agricultural Bank of Lviv and in January 1931 became a founding member of the Ukrainian Catholic Union, an above-party coalition envisioned by Metropolitan Sheptytsky in the wake of the increasing brutality of the Piłsudski dictatorship, including the Pacification of 1930-1932.
The Singalevych Archive
Volodymyr Singalevych's archive contains correspondence from a large section of the Ukrainian notables from 1911-1930. Here are a just a few examples: Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky wrote in 1912 concerning the Ukrainian University. There is also a telegram to Petrushevych from Sheptytsky in October 1918. During the First World War, Basilian missionary Father Marian Shkirpan took up a small collection from his poor parishioners in Brazil (Prudentopolis, 13 July 1915) and sent it to the Assistance Committee to help at home. Shkirpan wrote: “Бразильска Україна відчуває моє страшне горе, яке навістило стару відчизну, тому радо прийдуть впомїч."
Olha Kobylianska, wrote several letters to obtain financial support. Kobylianska’s first letter, dated Чернівцї 11/4 915, describes her sad situation: "... Справді, ніколи не думала і не моглам сподіватися я, що попаду колись в моїм життю, в страшнім віку в таке страшне матеріяльне положення в ким злакаюся тепер в раз своєю старшою сестрою її домомом, і тим що мене (від 11. років хоровиту) доглядаюсь...” On 16 June, she wrote: “Війна настала, школи позачинювані, ... а літературна праця (не лиш моя, а других) де она опинилася? Літературна праця, та одгичка точка що вже мене ще до землі задає охоти...” Singalevych was able to send her funds, for which she thanked him heartily with a postcard (16 June 1915).
Singalevych’s archives also contain letters from international politicians and notables, such as one from the future Pope Pius XII, Msgr. Eugenio Pacelli to Count Michael Tyshkevych (9 January 1915). There is also a letter from Hungarian minister von Burian (22 September 1914 ).
In 1916, the Supreme Ukrainian Council (calling itself Pro-Senate) attempted to intervene with the Holy See in the appointment of the new Greek-Catholic bishop for Przemysl. Singalevych was among the signatories. They presented a tern of candidates to the Apostolic Nuncio in Vienna: Klymenti Sheptytsky, Josyf Zhuk and Oleksi Baziuk. When Josaphat Kotsylovsky was appointed the following year, they intervened without result against the nomination.
Two letters of great interest came into his possession, from Archduke Wilhelm von Habsburg (Василь Вишиваний) (12 and 27 October 1918), one of which has a beautiful red paper seal with his archducal coat-of-arms on the reverse side of the envelope. The archive also contains a printed copy of Emperor Karl's 16 October 1918 imperial manifesto which changed the Monarchy into a federation of nations, at least on paper. We also find the guest-list and speech given at a banquet in honour of the newly-appointed Apostolic Visitor to Ukraine, Father Giovanni Genocchi, who passed through Vienna in April 1920.
Volodymyr Singalevych died on 7 November 1945 in Bregen, Austria. This 35-box archive represents his activity in Vienna, it was certainly located in the Austrian capital until he returned to Galicia in 1930. Afterwards it was entrusted to Metropolitan Sheptytsky (as indicated on the archival boxes), who probably left it in the care of either Cyrille Korolevskij or his procurator Msgr. Enrico Benedetti. Further research should determine specific details of its itinerary.
For over a decade, the current archivist of the Oriental Congregation, Dr. Gianpaolo Rigotti, has sought discover the identity of the Singalevych collection. His research revealed the following: his predecessor, Monsignor Stasys Žilys, archivist from 1962 to 1992, erroneously listed it as Fondo Archivio Politico Szeptyckij on page 35 of his inventory of the Congregation's holdings. Until 2000, together with the other Ruthenian and Ukrainian fonds, the Singalevych collection was located on the second floor of the archives. During the complete renovation of the Congregation's archival rooms, which took place from June 2000 to March 2001, all of the dicastery's fonds were removed. The so-called Fondo Szeptyckij was transfered to an underground facility near the Via dei Corridori, which had been restructured for storage purposes in 1998. Subsequently, the fond in question was returned to the third floor of the fully renovated archives, where are stored the oldest materials acquired from the former Sacred Congregation De Propaganda Fide for the Affairs of the Oriental Rite. In the autumn of 2006, Rigotti called upon the renowned historian and orientalist, Msgr. Giuseppe M. Croce to help determine the content and importance of the collection. Having been made aware of the identity of Volodymyr Singalevych from documents contained in the Vatican Secret Archives, I was able to clarify the precise identity of this fond.
In examining the Singalevych papers, it becomes immediately clear that, per se, not only does the archive have nothing to do with Sheptytsky (except that it had been entrusted temporarily to his care) but that it represents a personal and not an institutional collection. Although it does contain many documents emitted by the Ukrainian Supreme Council and the ZUNR, it also contains private and personal communications, documents that are seldom included in institutional collections. The Singalevych archive itself was not produced for the Ukrainian Government; it was rather meant to be an historical record of a portion of the life (public and private) of its onetime officials.
It might seem odd that such an archive continues to be housed inside the Oriental Congregation. However, at least for the present, I strongly believe that the continuing care of the Singalevych fond by this Vatican department has several advantages. For instance, although the archival boxes themselves are currently in a bad state of repair, unlike other important Ukrainian archives housed in Ukrainian institutions, (such as those of the ZUNR) the documents themselves are intact, safe, under the supervision of a highly competent professional historian. Most imporantly, they are accessible to scholars with the authorization of the Congregation's superiors.